We live in a culture of quick. We expect our food to be delivered in minutes, our needs to be met upon utterance and our expectations to be discerned and dispensed without delay. Is it any wonder that people often walk into the therapy room looking for and expecting to find immediate answers for their long term problems?

It would seem that the Age of Aquarius, with it’s hopes for a better, free-er, less establishment oriented world, is being systematically replaced with the Age of Instant Gratification, perpetual motion, physical exhaustion and frayed emotions.

In a culture of immediate satisfaction, the concept of a depth growth process can seem outdated and arduous. After all, who wants to commit to an in-depth therapy process that ferrets out the deeply ingrained, intergenerational patterns that perpetuate troublesome interactionary habits, when the quick-fix promises resolution and happiness in just a few, short, relatively painless interactions?

Therapies that promise problem resolution in the short term, however, often result in a recurrence of the same issue, in a slightly altered state. Different behavioral presentation but the same problem, none the less.

One of my great loves, besides reading books on theory like they are romance novels, is gardening. There is something very therapeutic, and metaphorical about digging around in the dirt, pulling weeds, fertilizing, and tending to new growth.   As my grandmother Maddox taught me, the growth process requires good soil, aggressive weed control, just the right amount of fertilizer and…wait for it…time.

Growth… and change… take time.

There is no quick way to grow a seedling. No matter how great the soil, or how lovingly the fertilizer is applied or aggressive the weed control, the beautiful flowers, full shrub or stately tree I long to see require time.

It takes time to grow roots.   

Any farmer worth his salt will tell you that before any type of growth is seen above ground, a considerable amount of time goes into the development of the plant’s root system. Roots before growth. Roots before results.

“A farmer planted seed. …some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly.”    Mark 4:5 The Message

Plants with deep, well developed roots, can make it through tough times. No rain? That’s ok…because the plant has a fully developed root system it is able to draw water from deep in the earth. Strong winds? That’s ok, because the plant with a deep root system is securely anchored into the soil and is not easily toppled when the winds beat and batter. Even plants that are shorn off at the surface during a particularly strong storm will come back, if, they have a well developed root system.

“…they are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.”    Jeremiah 17: 7 NLT

The process of depth growth may not always seem like the most appealing option to culturally conditioned people indoctrinated with the philosophy of quick. The promise of instant relief is often enough to draw those in pain to the immediacy promised by short-term, quick-fix therapies. For those, however, interested in breaking the intergenerational patterns that seem to keep surfacing in each succeeding generation, the element of time assures that the therapeutic results they seek will be long-lasting, life altering and restorative.

Being a real Self, in relationship with a real God and real Others, requires moving some dirt, pulling some weeds, lovingly applied fertilizer and above all, time to grow roots.

Which will you choose? Depth growth or quick-fix?